House agrees to higher fine for knowingly driving on closed roads

BISMARCK—Drivers knowingly out on closed roads in hazardous conditions need to face bigger fines, state lawmakers ruled Tuesday.

The House voted 60-34 to increase the fine from $20 to $250 after much debate. The bill stems from concerns about the number of drivers on closed roads during the bad weather around New Year’s Eve.

The Department of Transportation testified that the current fine is not deterring motorists from breaking the law, said Rep. Gary Sukut, R-Williston. The cost for the rescue operation and the delay of getting the roads open afterward are a big cost to the economy, he said.

Motorists who ignore the closure put themselves, law enforcement, DOT road crews and others at risk, Sukut said.

Rep. Dwight Wrangham, R-Bismarck, opposed the bill, saying the $250 fine goes too far. He said he learned his lesson with a $20 fine after driving around a closed road notice last spring.

Rep. Jeff Delzer, R-Underwood, said similar bills have failed in the past because there are too many times that drivers can end up on a closed road without knowing it’s closed.

“This says ‘not knowingly,’ but really who decides that?” he said.

Rep. Dan Ruby, R-Minot, said the bill applies to going around a gate and does not apply if a driver is further down the road and unaware that roads were closed. The bill is a deterrent for people who now decide to take their chances with a $20 fine, he said.

Rep. Bob Skarphol, R-Tioga, said the fine is excessive. He said there are times when people have legitimate reasons to go past the road closed gates.

Ruby said all of these issues were discussed in committee, and legislators felt comfortable that law enforcement will use prudence when making decisions of whether to allow someone on the road.

The House amended Senate Bill 2157, so it must now go back to the Senate for review.

Property tax reform

The House voted 89-4 on Tuesday to approve a bill that Rep. Mark Owens, R-Grand Forks, describes as a first step for property tax reform.

The House amended the bill so it no longer requires an exterior and interior inspection of each home and business at least once every 10 years.

However, the bill still allows the state supervisor of assessments to petition the tax commissioner for a hearing to revoke the certification of a tax assessor. There would be an appeal process and the opportunity to get the certificate back.

The bill also requires assessors to keep records for each parcel of taxable property.

It also directs the state board of equalization to equalize the classification and taxable status of real property in any assessment district in a county and in every county in the state in which the board determines the classification or taxable status is incorrect or inequitable.

The bill provides for reviews of selected properties within each county to verify the accuracy of property assessment listings, valuations, classifications and eligibility for exemptions.

The board may order a new assessment of any class of property if, in its opinion, taxable property has escaped assessment in whole or part, has been assessed unfairly or has not been assessed according to law.

“I think it’s a major step in the right direction,” said bill sponsor Sen. Dwight Cook, R-Mandan.

The amended bill now goes back to the Senate for review.

8 thoughts on “House agrees to higher fine for knowingly driving on closed roads

  1. This is a call for re-affirmation oath of your office.
    Security agreement notice of felonies, malpractice insurance and rights.

    You solemnly swear (affirm) that I will support the constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights, of the USA. I will faithfully discharge the Duties of My public service office according to country and god so help me god (under pains and penalties of perjury, forgery & theft by deception) Challenging your jurisdiction, rule of law family law is for the victim not a self serving political laws state pay attorneys for victim not for political special interest that take from our kids.

    We should support peace officer not political law officer not political attorneys that do not support the united states constitution, an victimless law is unconstitutional that is a forgery on the USA people is an theft by deception, on the tax payer and the victim, jails and prisons cost $100 to $1,100 a day and all the health care, and education when the victim gets no help but to state gets taxes aid why would you pay for the Political, Roman, Jewish, Christian belief of the old world that killed the son of God for their gold and deception of the past our founder father knew of this I reserve all family, friends and My Constitutional Rights that you have wrongfully stopped us doing Our life and Duties…

    I Bill at $250.00 per hour plus all cost and expense with an daily fine of $10,000 for violating our rights until proven, compliant or an victim it is an act of treason to proceed fine don’t attorneys law officer, taxerpayer the poor or help the Vitim at all just political roman special tax dealing deceiving counterfeiter writing that schemes to defraud harms another person of money or property for there old world ways that is a violation of God and this county and has proven to bankrupt this country and deceives gods, country and my family can you help me now


    Danial Ray Curtis 9/11 when all the world markets fell but one still stand tall Judas Iscariot forsake us all, the judiciary is for the people and supports the Vitim to keep family pride and country under rules of God to do No Harm to help them Grow, now is the time to grow up and stand up and repent to God & Country taxpayer & educator that want help not to be a slave to an idea or an old world way of deception of an bifeves in one self not a ruler or an judge but of this country and GOD to have paradise on earth and heaven. Danial not denial nor Daniel of the the wicked of the past shall open the book life, and give new knowledge and pride of the new world order of self worth and victims rights and put an end unholy polices of the political roman that deceives the hardworking god fearing, human people of the country and of the world to help each other too grow to pay the victim first not auditory of the fine the fee self-serving of Judas Iscariot betrayal of Gods peoples, and oath of this country, and family laws and victims right, pubic service oath and god’s trust and Danial’s contract for peaces and civil rights for self worth and family trust in the father so help me god let me stand up an win for all are good but we are dumb and not see (Nazis) Judas Iscariot truly has forsake all of us, it a terrible to live in terror and fear when we try to be good!

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